The National Press Club will defend journalism from threats posed by the Trump administration's bid to dictate the news, said its new president Andrea Edney at the Feb. 10 gala to celebrate her inauguration.
The Bloomberg News editor’s remarks followed the keynote address by First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, in which he spoke of the disparaging way that President Trump talks about the press, but reminded the audience that tension between the White House and media is nothing new.
He noted that John Adams was responsible for the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it a crime to speak falsely of the president, of the Congress, of the Supreme Court and just about everything in our government.”
Though Abrams conceded that journalism is facing many dangers in the US, he also told the audience that “press protections do remain strong, stronger in the United States as a matter of law, than any place else in the world,” adding that is up to the press to “remain vigilant in using and defending its freedoms and that of all Americans.”
Edney, who in her first press conference on Jan. 19 called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to release Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez, told the audience that NPC will “not rest until Emilio is released and granted asylum.”
In October, the NPC invited Gutierrez to accept the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award on behalf of Mexico's journalists.
Gutierrez is being held by ICE while he appeals the rejection of his request for asylum in the US. ICE says Gutierrez would be a flight risk during the appeal process, as well as rejecting his claims that he is a working journalist and that his life is threatened in Mexico.
According to The Committee to Protect Journalists, 43 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992.
Edney reasserted NPC’s mission to fight for press freedoms for US journalists. “We are going to keep fighting to protect press freedoms in this country and throughout the world,” she told the audience.